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March 25, 2014
AFC roundup: Andy Reid thinks Alex Smith is "brilliant"


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hotcakes with Harbaugh? That's tomorrow when the NFC coaches have breakfast with the media. Today was the AFC's turn. Here are some 49ers-related tidbits from the coaches in that other conference ....

When the Kansas City Chiefs gave up two second-day draft picks for Alex Smith, it seemed like a steal for the 49ers. Smith, however, finished the 2013 season with a career-high 3,313 yards (in 15 starts) and led the Chiefs to a surprising playoff berth after they had a 2-14 record the year before.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid today sounded as if he was more than happy with the deal. "He's a brilliant guy," he said of Smith. "He can digest a lot and not be paralyzed by it. I would say with him you're not going to run out of gigabytes, right? He's got plenty of those. He can still function well with a lot of knowledge."

Reid sounded a lot like Smith's previous coaches, especially Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, in detailing Smith's strengths. Meyer once talked about how Smith would work late into the night on game plans with the Utah coaching staff.

Said Reid: "He's a gym rat. I mean, you've got to kick him out. I was almost on double-secret probation his first week in the building because he wanted to stay there forever. And I'd have to, like, kick him and out and (tell him) to come back. I said, 'You've got to go.' That's how he approaches the game."

"You've heard he's a good leader," Reid continued. "You don't realize how great of a leader he is until you've worked with him. You've heard about his strengths and weaknesses as player, until you get him and he's doing your stuff - I don't think you figure that out completely until then. I loved his accuracy. I love his want-to - to be great - I loved the way he took things over and challenged everyone around him. Not in a boisterous manner but by leading by example and by teaching on the field. ... I appreciated his whole game."

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he wished tackle Jonathan Martin "nothing but well" in what he described as Martin's "next journey" with the the 49ers. "Jonathan came into work every single day and worked his butt off here," he said. "And he played well. I hope he does a great job for them. I wish him well."

Martin will get a chance to be the so-called "swing tackle" behind starters Joe Staley and Anthony Davis. The team may have a future opening, however, at left guard if they cannot extend or re-sign Mike Iupati, who will be a free agent next year. Did the Dolphins ever consider Martin as an interior lineman?

"Our film evaluation of him was that tackle was the best position," Philbin said. "But he's a smart guy. I'm sure he can do what ever any club, I'm sure he can do what anybody asks him to do."

Anthony Dixon was a bit of a jack of all trades for the 49ers in recent years, playing tailback, fullback and having his biggest role on special teams. Bills coach Doug Marrone said he would use Dixon as a tailback and on special teams.

He said he liked big runners. And unlike the 49ers, who felt that the 233-pound Dixon was too shifty and ran too much like a smaller back, Marrone said he saw no issues with Dixon's style.

"I haven't been on the field with him yet, but from what I've seen of his college film and what he's done - I feel very comfortable with his running style," he said.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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